by Steven S
Football managers eh, who needs ‘em? One moves there, another moves here, these guys want him, those idiots want compensation…..and so it goes on. A week on and now a quarter of the Premiership are in need of a daddy, although Liverpool and perhaps Aston Villa are moving a little bit closer……to destroying two promoted teams progression in the top flight.
It is hard to see a Rodgerless Swansea making much headway next season in the Prem and the massive worry for the club will be the List of Death that will be rolled out as replacements. Alan Curbishley. Paul Ince. Alex McLeish. You get the picture. I pity any team in the Premiership that has to call someone from that list as an option.
Liverpool on the other hand are taking a plunge into the unknown with a manager who has just finished his freshman year in the Prem and who would’ve been entering the toughest period for a newly promoted club in their second season, so personally he has upped the ante when it comes to proving his ability.
As ever the hardest part of the job will be managing the unrealistic expectations of the Liverpool fans who still demand targets that are out of the reach of the team right now. Mark Lawrenson told us “The chance for Brendan to manage a club which is in the top 10 in the country was too much to resist.” Let’s not forget Swansea finished 11th last season, so the jump is hardly astronomic. The events late in the week may also provide food for thought for Gylfi Sigurdsson, following Hoffenheim accepting a £7million bid from Swansea.
The Grant Holt transfer news was squashed almost instantly by Norwich who also look to be following Swansea down the pan with rumours suggesting Paul Lambert has quit the club heading to Villa Park following the boards’ refusal to discuss the Midland club’s offer. Holt’s transfer was apparently refused by the club who will have no choice but to sell if they lose their manager, or face up to a very unhappy team.
Much like the larger clubs creating squads absolutely stacked with the best talent available thus destroying any smaller clubs chances of growing, two of the most refreshing aspects of last season look likely to be picked apart by the Premiership wolves. It highlights one of the more depressing aspects of modern football, where we’ll also see the best guys from Bilbao, Montpellier and Dortmund no doubt heading for the stars.
There is a fear ahead of the Euros that the whole thing will go tits up and activist group Femen will give it their best shot to make that happen. With the trophy on public display in Kiev earlier in the week Yana Zhdanova decided to make a stand against sex tourism in the country by attempting to grab the cup shortly after raising her top to expose herself. She was soon bundled away with some very scary looking old school Eastern European tactics by security standing nearby. Femen believe that UEFA are working in cohorts with the government to allow an increase in prostitution to recover the cost of staging the tournament. With Ribery, Rooney and Balotelli all soon to be arriving, you get the sense they may be onto something.
On a more serious note, the ugly spectre of racism has been the hot topic of the week after Panorama showed shocking footage of the abuse non-whites receive in the Ukraine at football grounds. Theo Walcott and Oxlade Chamberlain have told their families to stay at home for the tournament and Sol Campbell came out on the offensive lambasting UEFA for holding the event in the region at all. UEFA head honcho Platini has said games could be stopped or even called off if racist abuse is prevalent during the tournament which is a commendable stand to take, although many cynics will have to see to believe.
The issue becomes complicated should it occur in a match between two non host teams, where local thugs are booing black players from both sides. It would be hard to believe a game could be called off in that situation, so the alternative could be to remove the offenders from the ground, which again could prove to be very messy. We just have to hope that the pre-tournament fears do not come to fruition, like those which were vocalised before the South African World Cup did not.
Violence in football. It needs to stop. Who will be big enough to get Robert Mugabe on message? A die hard Chelsea fan he tells us, Bob is a man of action after a busy day at the office cleansing the country of prosperity. Robby likes to come home, plonk himself in front of his plasma and boot the living daylights out of the family furniture. “When they are scoring on the field I will also be scoring at home, kicking everything in front of me.” John Terry would approve.
Manchester Utd topped the popularity list as the most supported club in the world, an internal survey estimating they now have 659million supporters across the globe, nearly a 10th of the world’s entire population. The figures are staggering and point toward a lot of work for Boris Johnson in his second term as London major. That sort of overcrowding in London will take a while to fix.
In not so good news for the club analysts at Physioroom.com put together a league table of injuries from the season just past with Utd racking up 39 significant injuries (more than 14 days) through the campaign. Man City were top with only 7 but when you have 764 players to choose from you would be surprised if it had much impact.
Wages have also gone through the roof, Deloitte publishing a report detailing a barmy 70% wage/revenue ratio now existing across the league. An extra £201million was added to the bill during the 2010/11 season bringing the Premiership wage total to £1.6billion. With the magic Financial Fair Play on the horizon it comes as no surprise that both City and Chelsea have been flagged up as the teams with the most work to do to reach compliance. Surely either Sheikh Mansour or Abramovich could just buy FIFA and end all this now?
The first big juicy transfer of the week was of course the news that Eden Hazard would be joining the ‘Champions League winners’ as announced via his twitter feed. His game playing with the media is fun to see but his image amongst most non Chelsea fans is not favourable to say the least. On a reported £100,000 a week after tax, the Belgium maestro has to now live up to the hype in a better league and showcase himself across Europe.
Man Utd’s first bid for Kagawa was rejected by Dortmund although it will only be a matter of time before the financials are resolved, probably somewhere in the region of £14million. Berbatov’s name continues to be linked across Europe, taking in PSG and a return to Bayer Leverkusen with nothing sounding solid.
Not happy with a little £32million for little Eden, the man who has been linked to every top four club in England over the past four years has finally arrived. Givanildo Vieira de Souza will finally get the chance to live up to his nickname and see if he can carry on where Drogba left off. Oh and the price? £38million. The equal 11th highest fee ever for a player, sharing the spot with Aguero. Since the euphoria surrounding their Champions League win took over Chelsea have bullishly turned around concerns about their squad next season and added some much needed quality. £70million in a week and all of a sudden Chelsea will be top four as minimum taking things further perhaps over the summer. More importantly with the arrival of Hulk, we will now get to hear more of the brilliant Manchester City chant from last season’s Europa League.
So we end the week in Super Transfer Mode, Chelsea setting the precedent for what was supposed to be a financially diligent summer. Speaking of which, payday has not long arrived and we have four lovely days to make the most of. So do something that I wouldn’t do, forget the stress and strains of the work place and we’ll meet up again, same time, same place, next week.